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The trust cup

June 18th, 2004 · 1 Comment

How can you encourage your kids to tell the truth and not to lie? Jenny posted a piece of helpful advice she received from a friend: the trust cup.

Here’s what I did. I got 2 glasses (Joel is particularly fond of the adult glasses), and filled one full with water. We sat at the table and I showed him the full “trust cup”. I explained that when he is truthful the “trust cup” is full. Then I demonstrated that with each lie, the trust cup grows empty. He did not like that. I demonstrated further that it takes many more truths to fill the “trust cup” than lies to empty it. He was pretty frustrated when the “trust cup” was emptied. I explained that today the “trust cup” is full (starting over) and encouraged him to try to keep it that way. He seemed pretty on-board.

I hadn’t heard of this illustration but it seems to make sense. I hope it works well with Joel. When reading Jenny’s post, I remembered another piece of advice I had heard regarding how to handle a child’s misbehavior. Certainly there are ways to discourage a kid, such as losing privileges or time outs.

Often though, when I find myself having a hard time with the children, and it seems that they are constantly going against me, I have to stop myself and analyze what has been happening in our home. Have we been too busy? Have I been caught up with other tasks or errands? Have I been spending time and energy with this particular child or is there a good reason why she is asking for my attention, even if it is in a “bad” way? It’s too easy for me to become too busy. But my girls let me know!

I try to remember that I need to put money in the bank, so to speak, with my kids. I need to build our relationship through fun. I need to relax and play with them. Laugh. Dance. Eat ice cream.

Not to say that if a child misbehaves, I think that it’s time to take her to Dairy Queen as a reward. But I do need to examine myself and see how I have been interacting with my girls. Have we been having enough fun? Have I been giving them reasons to want a relationship with me? Have we been enjoying each other?

One way to look at the trust cup illustration is to see that each side of the relationship – the parent and the child – has one. Building a bond with my daughters through shared times – whether it’s a special trip to the pool or sofa snuggles with favorite books – is like adding water little by little to the trust cup and to the relationship we have together. Truth will come from trust.

Tags: motherhood

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 jenny // Jun 19, 2004 at 9:12 am

    You are right on Julie! Making deposits in the bank… time, attention, busy-ness… Each of us has has a cup. I especially like you last line, “Truth will come from trust.” Awesome.